The truth about Iron.
Updated: Sep 1, 2021
Lot's of talk about iron since a group called the "Able Groupe" decided to release a recall in the US on European formulas for not containing enough of the mineral. This bogus claim gets my gears going for many reasons, much of which I won't put in writing! Explaining how the media operates, I'll save for another blog post ;) What I will explain here is why this latest statement made by the Able Groupe is unjust and frankly incorrect according to recommendations the AAP has put in place.
1st of all, the only countries which can issue a recall on these formulas are the countries where the formulas are produced and approved for sale on store shelves. The US has no control over issuing a recall on a product they don't approve for sale!
2nd of all, the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) iron recommendation for formula fed infants states "Formula containing 4mg/L to 12mg/L of iron". HiPP, Holle, Lebenswert, Loulouka & Nanny Care all fall within this range. Not sure how they can openly state that these formulas don't contain enough iron when they have made the parameters... oh wait, I can understand... $$$
3rd of all, if there was not enough iron in these formulas then there would be millions upon millions of European & North American babies, kids, teens and adults walking around with anemia... not the case. These formulas have been fed to babies for decades upon decades... Holle has been feeding babies for close to a century with their superior biodynamic, esoteric approach to farming and production.
Honestly I could go on, those of you who have spoken to me and do follow me, know fully well where I stand on these foods and the "rules put in place by the higher ups" regarding them.
Here's a fact - milk actually depletes iron absorption and breast milk lacks iron! The goal when looking for a formula should not be "which one has the highest iron?" Iron actually can cause constipation in tiny babes so some parents actually want to keep this minerals percentage low in baby formula.
So why is iron important? Iron is very important for brain development & making hormones. It also produces red blood cells which sends oxygen from our lungs to different areas of the body.
Babies are actually born with enough iron stores to last them until 6 months. Infants 0-6 months need .27mg a day, which is usually met with the store they are born with as well as through breastfeeding & infant formulas. After 6 months is when the stores are depleted and iron needs to increase due to the rapid growth of your child... I recommend increasing your babes iron intake at this stage with solid foods that are rich in iron.
Infants 7-12 months requires 11mg of iron a day which is also often met with breast milk, formula and iron rich foods.
Ok, so what foods should you include in your babes diet you ask...
Broccoli (also rich in Vit. C)
Kale (also rich in Vit. C)
Bone Marrow Broth
Keep in mind that heme iron, most concentrated in animal sources, will be more easily absorbed by the body as opposed to nonheme iron, which is mostly found in plant sources. Another way to increase iron absorption is by accompanying it with a form of vitamin C (ie. citrus fruit, mango, strawberries, cauliflower, peas, tomatoes).
When babe reaches 1 year old you can also provide an iron supplement, check out the ones we carry and recommend which are safe for babies 1 year plus.
Children ages 1-3 need 7 mg of iron per day
Children ages 4-8 need 10mg per day
Children ages 9-13 need 8 mg per day
As reference, here are our 5 year old son's top fave foods and the amount of iron they include:
peanut butter: 0.6g
These accompanied with whole grains (ie non-gmo breads, quinoa etc.) he is getting an excellent iron intake!
Signs of an iron deficiency in babes:
cold hands & feet
slowed growth & development
poor appetite or craving non food items (ice and even dirt!)
If your baby is exhibiting any of the above, always consult with your pediatrician!
Hope this clarifies the great iron debate! Remember, fed is best and it's always best to read the ingredients in your and your children's foods... just because it's deemed safe or approved to be sold on store shelves, it doesn't necessarily mean it's healthy or even safe in some cases. Many ingredient labels contain toxic ingredients, this is why we support, recommend and LOVE European laws, standards and restrictions in regards to organic food production!
We trust & promote the pure, true and organic food sources.